The Sleeper's Blog

A collection of opinions on the events in the rail industry from Rail Technology Magazine's most feared reporter, ‘The Sleeper’.

Blending irreverence with a much-needed dose of reality, these morsels of spite keep passengers’ best interests at heart and prove the old adage that 'the truth hurts'.

Interested in becoming a guest blogger? Email the editor.

RTM celebrates its 100th issue

RTM celebrates its 100th issue

28.10.16: RTM is extremely proud to announce that today marks the publication of our 100th edition. This edition, wrapped in a special celebratory cover, represents a major milestone in our 18-year journey as Britain’s rail industry media leade...

Network Rail chooses Barnardo’s as charity partner

Network Rail chooses Barnardo’s as charity partner

26.10.16: Barnardo’s will be Network Rail’s Charity of Choice until March 2019, it was announced today. Network Rail will support the charity through fundraising, volunteering, gifts in kind and payroll giving. There’s no doubt...

If the Midlands makes the most of HS2, the UK will get most out of the Midlands

If the Midlands makes the most of HS2, the UK will get most out of the Midlands

25.10.16: Maria Machancoses, programme director at Midlands Connect and director at Midlands Engine, writes for RTM about the opportunities HS2 will create for the region and the country. According to transport secretary Chris Grayling, the first pha...

Virgin receives more than 15,000 applications for Azuma drivers

Virgin receives more than 15,000 applications for Azuma drivers

21.10.16: More than 15,000 potential train drivers have applied to drive Virgin’s new fleet of Azuma trains. Virgin said the applications, which closed on 14 October, equated to nearly 200 for each of the 78 posts, the biggest recruitment drive...

Rail industry honours Olympic heroes

Rail industry honours Olympic heroes

18.10.16: Star Olympic and Paralympic athletes travelled from Manchester to London for victory celebrations thanks to free transport from the rail industry. The athletes took part in a parade in Manchester yesterday to celebrate their achievements, a...

Breaking down mental health barriers

Breaking down mental health barriers

12.10.16: Chris Langer, scheme intelligence manager at CIRAS, on the link between mental health, safety and confidential reporting. When the CIRAS hotline rings, and we speak to a reporter with a safety concern, very often much of what they say is un...

Rail academy construction progressing at pace

Rail academy construction progressing at pace

07.10.16: Industry efforts to deliver world-class training facilities for the next generation of rail workers are progressing at apace, as government ministers visited two sites this week. On Wednesday, transport secretary Chris Grayling visited the...

Could this be the station of the future?

Could this be the station of the future?

30.09.16: New images have brought to life a future where stations will be places to shop and socialise and not simply catch a train. The Rail Delivery Group (RDG) has released the images from bpr architects, which illustrate Station Place, a concept...

Leeds rail bridge to get rainbow repaint in celebration of LGBT community

Leeds rail bridge to get rainbow repaint in celebration of LGBT community

23.09.16: The Lower Briggate bridge in Leeds city centre will be repainted with the traditional LGBT rainbow colours after enough funds were raised by Leeds City Council and the local LGBT community. The bridge will be redecorated during engineering...

Two jobs, one stone: transferring the skills from a career in rail

Two jobs, one stone: transferring the skills from a career in rail

20.09.16: David Stinton, graduate civil engineer at AECOM and sapper in the Royal Engineers, had no idea that working in rail would give him the opportunity to pursue two fulfilling careers with crucial transferrable skills. I decided that I wanted t...

Skills swap: GWR and Amey apprentices trade places

Skills swap: GWR and Amey apprentices trade places

13.09.16: Apprentices from Great Western Railway (GWR) and Amey will be swapping places throughout this month as part of a “rare” cross-organisational skills exchange between the operator and the engineering consultancy company. Those emp...

Sell Network Rail and scrap HS2?

Sell Network Rail and scrap HS2?

09.09.16: Controversial reforms are needed to Britain’s rail network, including selling nearly half of Network Rail and an end to the HS2 project, according to a right-wing think-tank. The new paper from the Adam Smith Institute shows the incre...

TfL introduces new badges to help disabled passengers find seats

TfL introduces new badges to help disabled passengers find seats

02.09.16: Disabled passengers will have an easier time finding a seat in the capital as Transport for London (TfL) unveils new ‘please offer me a seat’ badges. Up to 1,000 people can volunteer for a six-week trial to test the effectivenes...

Carne promises more improvements ahead of London Bridge opening

Carne promises more improvements ahead of London Bridge opening

26.08.16: The Bank Holiday opening of London Bridge’s new concourse marks a turnaround for the capital’s beleaguered rail services, the chief executive of Network Rail has promised. Writing for the Evening Standard and on Network Rail&rsq...

Hate crime increase on the railways following Brexit

Hate crime increase on the railways following Brexit

23.08.16: Worrying new figures indicate that British railways are an increasingly dangerous place for ethnic minority groups following the UK’s vote to leave the European Union. According to figures obtained by the Press Association through a F...

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TfL and TfWM join forces in knowledge sharing deal

20/07/2018TfL and TfWM join forces in knowledge sharing deal

A landmark collaboration between two of the UK’s biggest regions has been signed to pave the way to improve rail transport between the area... more >
DfT pledges ‘tough action’ on GTR, contract breach review due this month

19/07/2018DfT pledges ‘tough action’ on GTR, contract breach review due this month

GTR could be at risk of losing control of its franchise as early as this month depending on the outcome of a “hard review” into wheth... more >
Higgins urges Grayling to make decision on Yorkshire HS2 parkway station

19/07/2018Higgins urges Grayling to make decision on Yorkshire HS2 parkway station

HS2 Ltd’s outgoing chairman, Sir David Higgins, has urged the government to make a decision on proposals to create a parkway station on the... more >

editor's comment

23/01/2018Out with the old...

Despite a few disappointing policy announcements, especially for the electrification aficionados amongst us, 2017 was, like Darren Caplan writes on page 20, a year generally marked by positive news for the rail industry. We polished off the iconic Ordsall Chord (p32), hit some solid milestones on Thameslink (p40), progressed on ambitious rolling stock orders (p16), and finally started moving forward on HS2 (p14) ‒ paving the way for a New Ye... read more >

last word

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. Chris Leech MBE, business community manager at the TOC, gives RTM an update on the innovative scheme. Recognising that young people are more likely to take a risk trespassing on railway tracks, CrossCountry and the Scouts have come together to encourage Britain’s younger generations to be... more > more last word articles >
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'the sleepers' daily blog

HS2: collaborate to innovate

17/07/2018HS2: collaborate to innovate

Dr Chris Goodier and Dr Steve Yeomans, of Loughborough University’s Centre for Innovative and Collaborative Construction Engineering (CICE), talk about four new HS2 research projects which are set to challenge how we design, build and monitor high-speed rail projects. No one doubts that HS2 must provide a platform for innovation, bu... more >
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Elizabeth Line: a greener approach

17/07/2018Elizabeth Line: a greener approach

Howard Smith, operations director for TfL Rail and the Elizabeth Line, outlines the key features of the brand-new, eco-friendly Old Oak Common de... more >
iRail: investing in the future

17/07/2018iRail: investing in the future

The rail industry today faces many challenges, one of those being the skills gap in high- speed rail. However, events like iRail are doing their ... more >
HS2: collaborate to innovate

17/07/2018HS2: collaborate to innovate

Dr Chris Goodier and Dr Steve Yeomans, of Loughborough University’s Centre for Innovative and Collaborative Construction Engineering (CICE)... more >
Hydrogen trains: bringing the success story to the UK

17/07/2018Hydrogen trains: bringing the success story to the UK

Hydrogen-powered trains are already a reality in other rail networks in Europe. Now, working alongside Eversholt Rail, Alstom UK plans to bring t... more >

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interviews

Transforming travel in the north west

06/02/2018Transforming travel in the north west

RTM’s Josh Mines talks to Robin Davis, head of new trains at TransPennine Express (TPE), about the huge rolling stock change journey the co... more >
Thameslink: Nearing the end of the line

23/01/2018Thameslink: Nearing the end of the line

RTM’s Josh Mines catches up with Mark Somers, project director for Thameslink, on how the final stages of the programme are progressing and... more >
Modernising journeys in north east England

09/11/2017Modernising journeys in north east England

First Hull Trains is about to embark on the biggest fleet overhaul it has delivered since being set up in 2000. Managing director Will Dunnett te... more >